Historic Preservation Missouri People

Missouri Preservation Hires Bill Hart as Field Representative

From Missouri Preservation:

Missouri Preservation is proud to announce that William (Bill) Hart has been hired as its first full-time Field Representative. William brings over fifteen years of hands-on preservation experience to his role as Field Representative. William received his Bachelor of Science degree in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia with a Master of Arts Degree in Architectural History. William became active in neighborhood preservation issues when he moved to St. Louis in the late 1970s. Through his neighborhood association, he helped to establish a not-for-profit housing corporation to deal with vacant historic buildings. In the 1980s, he worked with Market Preservation, a group which opposed massive demolition of historic buildings in the heart of the downtown. William has restored several historic buildings on his own, and eventually started his own company as a developer and general contractor, specializing in historic buildings. While working as a developer, he received awards from the Dutchtown South Community Corporation, the Home Builders Association of Saint Louis, and the St. Louis Landmarks Association. He has a special interest in documenting vanishing roadside architecture and the preservation of barns and farm buildings in Missouri. William is a native of Perryville, Missouri and currently resides in Saint Louis in the City’s Benton Park Neighborhood.

William will expand the vital outreach services provided by Missouri Preservation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to communities across the state. As an Official Statewide Partner of the National Trust and Missouri’s statewide historic preservation advocacy and education organization, Missouri Preservation provides information, technical, and strategic advocacy services to empower citizens with the tools needed to preserve their historic resources. William will represent both organizations to provide guidance on a variety of subjects including preservation techniques and approaches, fundraising, organizational development, community relations and politics, community development, and the availability of preservation resources.

The Field Representative position has been funded by a $125,000 challenge grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Entitled Partners in the Field, this matching grant had the specific purpose of providing three years of dedicated funding to expand our outreach by hiring a full-time Field Representative. Missouri Preservation recently completed the fundraising for its $125,000 match. We would like to thank our generous donors for making the expansion of our mission-driven services possible: Great Southern Bank, HBD Construction, Inc., Huebert Builders, Inc., Edward Jones, William T. Kemper Foundation, McGowan Brother Development, Raming Distributions, Inc., Renaissance Development Associates, The Roberts Companies, Stark Wilson Duncan Architects, Inc., and Stupp Bros. Bridge & Iron Co. Foundation.
We are pleased to welcome William to our staff and look forward to the expansion of our field service program. If you have a question about an historic place in your community, please contact the Missouri Preservation office at 573-443-5946. Contact information for William Hart will be listed on our website at

Missouri Preservation, known formally as Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation, is Missouri’s only statewide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and coordinating historic preservation activities throughout Missouri.

Historic Preservation People

Jeff Mansell is Landmarks Association’s New Executive Director

by Michael R. Allen

Jefferson Mansell is the new Executive Director of Landmarks Association of St. Louis. Jeff replaces Carolyn Hewes Toft, retiring after 32 years leading our only regional advocacy organization devoted to historic preservation and urban planning. Read more about Jeff below:

St. Louis Beacon: Take Five: Interview with Landmarks’ new director

Landmarks Association: Jeff Mansell Named Landmarks’ New Executive Director

Jeff is going to be a great boss!

Events Historic Preservation Illinois Metro East People Salvage

St. Louis Building Arts Foundation Conservatory Tour on Saturday

Drawing (c. 1955) courtesy of Larry Giles.

The Rehabbers Club presents:

Tour of St. Louis Building Arts Foundation Conservatory

Saturday August 23, 2008
2:00 p.m.

Join us for a very special tour at the Conservatory of the St. Louis Building Arts Foundation led by founder Larry Giles. The Foundation was created in 2002 to help realize Larry’s dream of opening a museum of architecture centered on his collection of nearly 300,000 architectural artifacts assembled during a 35-year career as an architectural salvage specialist.

In 2005, the Foundation purchased the former Sterling Steel Casting foundry in Sauget, Illinois. The site, called the Conservatory, will eventually serve as an off-site facility for the architectural museum. Till then it will serve as interim interpretive center and library.

The 15-acre site includes 13 historic foundry buildings built between 1923 and 1959 that the Foundation is rehabbing as the home for Larry’s collection, previously stored in four different locations. Larry has already completed an impressive amount of work at the complex and moved over half of the collection there.

Don’t miss this rare chance to come inside and see both a marvelous collection of architectural artifacts as well as a one-of-a-kind historic rehabilitation project!

Note: Due to ongoing work, public access is limited and there are no bathroom facilities.

If you’d like to carpool or caravan, meet at 1:30 in the Quiznos parking lot at 1535 South 7th Street in Soulard. Or you can meet us there promptly at 2:00 p.m.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS [for map graphic, approximate address, 2300 Falling Springs Road,

1. Take eastbound I-55/I-64 traveling across the Poplar Street Bridge
2. Exit onto southbound Illinois Route 3
3. LEFT turn at Monsanto Avenue
4. RIGHT turn onto Falling Springs Road
5. LEFT turn into parking area at St. Louis Steel Castings foundry


1. RIGHT turn onto Falling Springs Road from parking lot
2. LEFT turn onto Monsanto Avenue
3. Right turn onto Illinois Route 3
4. Look for westbound I-55/I-64 [left lane], enter ramp to Poplar Street Bridge

Chicago Documentation Louis Sullivan People Salvage

Richard Nickel’s Chicago: A Review

by Michael R. Allen

This article first appeared in the Winter 2007 issue of the NewsLetter of the Society of Architectural Historians, Missouri Valley Chapter.

David Norris, friend of photographer, salvager and historian Richard Nickel, once said that “I think what Richard had to teach was that if you find some way to express your deepest convictions, you should exercise that talent to the very utmost of your ability. . .even if it leads somehow to your destruction.” Nickel died in 1972 while rescuing interior ornament from Louis Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange building, then under demolition. The attitude toward life’s work that Norris summarizes is readily apparent in the vivid, arresting images in Richard Nickel’s Chicago: Photographs of a Lost City, published at the end of 2006. The book amasses many of Nickel’s images of condemned Louis Sullivan buildings, as well as his glimpses into other long-gone parts of Chicago: Chicagoans enjoying the carnival at Riverview Park; a Loop landscape prior to the Congress Expressway; downtown offices with stenciled lettering on frosted glass doors; youth making a strong show of protest at Grant Park in 1968; other hallmarks of a vibrant urban culture in which the built environment is both backdrop for human action and a pivotal character.

Richard Nickel’s body of work is the result of chance. After serving in the Army immediately after World War II, Nickel was seeking a mission in life and use of the free tuition the GI Bill offered. Newly-divorced, the young man happened upon photography classes at the Institute of Design, founded and directed by Bauhaus transplant László Moholy-Nagy. There his primary instructors were noted photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Siskind taught a class in which he assigned his students to photograph the surviving buildings of Louis Sullivan. Because he was draft-exempt, Nickel was put in charge of the students’ efforts and an exhibition held at the Institute in 1954. No matter; the young photographer had enthusiastically taken up his assignment, and took steps that made the study of Sullivan’s architecture his life’s work. Under Siskind’s direction, Nickel embarked upon a still-incomplete book entitled The Complete Architecture of Adler and Sullivan. After completing his courses, Nickel continued the book project but began to get sidetracked. Chicago seemed to be disappearing around him, and Nickel responded by documenting doomed buildings (Sullivan’s and others’) through drawing floor plans and taking photographs and then, when demolition was certain, salvaging ornament.

Most of the images in Richard Nickel’s Chicago were never printed in Nickel’s lifetime, making the book a remarkable document. Nickel took some 11,000 photographs in his life, but mostly made contact sheets unless a client was willing to pay for development. Even more remarkable than the book is the way in which Nickel was able to capture so carefully each scene without ever seeing a large print. Somehow Nickel was able to deftly find the drama in the still life of many architectural scenes, and carefully transmit the sorrowful scenes he witnessed directly. Those images are his best known, although most in the book are new to even his admirers. Less known are Nickel’s gentle shots of people at festivals, expressing the glee, anger or longing in what seem to be private moments between subject and photographer. Those images show a breadth to Nickel’s body of work previously unknown.

The architectural images convey both respect and resignation — a painful combination. The parade of lost masterpieces is staggering — Adler and Sullivan’s Schiller Theatre, Meyer Building, Rothschild Building, Babson Residence and Stock Exchange; Burnham and Root’s Church of the Covenant and First Infantry Armory; Holabird and Roche’s Republic and Cable building. Even the photographs of surviving landmarks like the Rookery and the Auditorium Building have a weary gaze, as if the photographer has doubts of their permanence at the hands of his society. Nickel conveys the glory of these buildings while making statements about Chicago’s arrogant disregard for them; he poses wry scenes that are statements of protest in which the beauty of the building makes the loudest statement.

Ever faithful to his subjects, Nickel avoids taking photographs that are easily digested or ignored. Nickel prefers wide views and the occasional vivid close-up to iconic images. At first glance, the photographs can seem carefully workmanlike. Then, a detail jumps out — the postures of men standing in the foreground of a demolition scene, words on a church wall next to a gaping hole made by wreckers, the appearance of a church steeple in a photograph of a roof. As one studies the photographs, the intentional nature of the details becomes apparent.

Nickel thought through his capturing of the details of every building he shot, just as the architects who designed them conceived of the intricate parts. Every foreground, background and shadow was chosen. The genius of Nickel emerges; he has taken photographs that reward a multitude of viewings and whose technique emulates the subjects’ complexity as much as any documentation can. Nickel’s photographs teach us the values of patience and observation, and of the power of making careful choices. These were the values that led Nickel to study and defend the works of Sullivan and other Chicago masters. These were the values that could have kept the buildings around as long as the photographs.

Cahan, Richard and Michael Williams, editors. Richard Nickel’s Chicago. Chicago: CityFiles Press, 2006. ISBN: 0-9785450-2-8.

Historic Preservation National Register North St. Louis People The Ville

Chuck Berry House Headed for National Register

by Michael R. Allen

Photograph by Lindsey Derrington.

This modest flat-roofed, one-story brick house at 3137 Whittier Street in The Ville is where rock ‘n’ roll was invented. Well, if not outright invented, definitely made into something it had never been before. Chuck Berry bought this house in 1950 and lived there during his most productive early songwriting period. When he sold the house in 1958, Berry had recorded “Maybelline,” “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

My colleague Lindsey Derrington, Researcher for Landmarks Association, identified this house last year as a landmark worthy of listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Rather than wait for someone else to take action, Lindsey wrote a nomination that received approval from the city’s Preservation Board last week and will be considered by the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation this Friday. After that point, the nomination is likely to face a tough time undergoing review by the National Park Service, which generally does not list in the Register properties associated with persons still living. This rule comes from fear of making hasty historical judgment. Lindsey’s nomination makes the case that Chuck Berry’s importance already has a permanent spot in the history books, even if he is alive and very well.

Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covered the nomination of the house with a front page article; read that here.

Dutchtown Events People South St. Louis

Feasting Fox Hosted SAH Chapter Gathering

by Michael R. Allen

Marty Luepker recounts the rehabilitation of the Feasting Fox.

On Sunday February 10, our local Missouri Valley Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians convened their annual gathering at the Feasting Fox restaurant in south St. Louis. Many people attended the gathering — and joined the chapter — for the first time. NiNi Harris opened the gathering with an account of the long battle to preserve the Feasting Fox, a historic tavern and restaurant built in 1913 and designed by Klipstein and Rathmann for Anheuser-Busch. Owners Marty and Sue Luepker then led a tour of the restaurant before attendees returned to the Gretchen’s Inn building next door for dinner and the annual slide show.

Attendees enjoyed fine food and drink, including scrumptious chocolate cake, before the customary slide show by chapter members. The slide show always features a wide variety of architectural topics and locations. This year’s was no exception, including presentations on endangered buildings in Gary, Indiana, a Greek Revival farm house in Missouri, Theodore Link’s Monticello Female Seminary campus in Godfrey, Illinois, frame homes in Tower Grove South, the Cathedral of Trash in Austin, Texas and others. In fact, the show went longer than allotted time and will be continued next year!

The chapter is a very welcoming group and publishes a splendid newsletter filled with members’ research and timely event listings; for membership details, contact Esley Hamilton at


Bettis In, Stanley Out

by Michael R. Allen

The Cultural Resources Office of the City of St. Louis hired Robert J. Bettis to the newly-created Preservation Planner position. Most recently working for the Commercial Development Department of the St. Louis Development Corporation, Bob worked for several years as the Certified Local Government Coordinator for the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office. I’m gratified to see Bob’s experience and talent matched with CRO. Bob joins an office of experienced — and overworked — professionals comprised of Director Kathleen Shea, Preservation Administrator Jan Cameron, Preservation Planner Andrea Gagen and Administrative Assistant Adonna Buford. CRO once had additional full-time positions, but lost them during downsizing in 2002. It’s great to have CRO regain its capacity.

Meanwhile at 1015 Locust, Planning and Urban Design Director Rollin Stanley celebrated his last day on January 31. Stanley is off to head planning operations for Montgomery County, Maryland. No word yet on when Planning and Urban Design will begin the search for Rollin’s replacement. The agency actively seeks a Community Development Research Analyst, though.

People South St. Louis

Another Chance to Help Make the Marti Frumhoff Memorial Garden Reality

by Michael R. Allen

Christian Herman, author of the delightful St. Louis Brick blog, is the visible shepherd of the plan to build the Marti Frumhoff Memorial Garden. Christian continues to raise funds and awareness for this important memorial to Marti Frumhoff, one of the city’s biggest champions who unexpectedly passed away last May.

Christian’s latest effort is an online auction of books to benefit the garden project; check it out here. Right now, there are some cool cookbooks and even some cooking accessories up for grabs. Bid now, and keep checking back for new books to be added. Out-of-print art and gardening books will be auctioned in the next few weeks.


Rollin Stanley Departing St. Louis

by Michael R. Allen

Rollin Stanley, Director of Planning and Urban Design for St. Louis, is leaving after six years on the job. More at and at Urban St. Louis. Apparently, Rollin is headed to a planning job in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland. Somehow, he kept the rumor mills quiet before breaking this news; there was no chatter preceding this announcement.

Events People

Kick Ass Awards on Monday Will Honor Marti Frumhoff

by Michael R. Allen

The fine folks behind 52nd City have chosen to posthumously honor Marti Frumhoff with one of their annual Kick Ass Awards, to be presented on Monday. I can’t think of a more worthy recipient; in fact, I’m a bit embarrassed that I received the award two years ago ahead of Marti due to work empowered by the encouragement and inspiration provided by Marti and others she had inspired.

The awards are at Duff’s Restaurant, 392 N. Euclid, from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m., Monday, November 26. Details here.